Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/13/statues-statues-they-all-fall-down
Teach the kids and adults History ,let them critically analyse what went on from all sides .
Teach them about the Doctrine of Dicovery and the implications of the Papal Bulls from 1492 and 1493.
Up on a pedestal means “look up to your oppressors” (which, let’s face it, is tantamount to constantly shouting “eat shit!” at most people). There has to be a statue of limitations on this.
There’s also a heckload of incredibly disgusting white-supremacist, hetero-patriarchal poetry out there, but at least it’s not promulgated as perches for pigeons. We take it one insult at a time.
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
(I wish I could write satire so wicked – That’s the second verse of the 1893 original.)
Fascist leaders like Trump, or want-a-be fascist leaders like Johnson calling any act “thuggery”, is both hilarious and sad at the same time.
I can imagine these leaders have dreams of one day seeing statues of themselves everywhere, wrapped in their countries flags. Legends in their own minds, one and all.
Trump already has many phallic symbols scattered across the globe in the form of his Trump Towers, with the symbolic T logo.
But I am reminded of the poem Ozymandias by Shelley-
I met a traveler from an antique land who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them…half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command tell that tis sculptor well those passions read…on the pedestal these words appear-My name is Ozymandias, king of kings., Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair…nothing else remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck. boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away/
Sic transit Gloria mundi…
What? The next thing you know the White House will have to be re-named, maybe the beige but boring house of idiots.
I mostly agree, but is there really more than one side to slavery? To the Nazi Holocaust? To targeting cities in wars? To the wars of aggression the U.S. has unrelentingly waged since 1945?
Empires are inherently organized theft under a false claim of right and benevolence.
Replacing that claim with truth would require a major re-write of the history books.
And splintering those empires so that they no longer exist.
Besides the USA, that would include Russia, China, India and Indonesia, split up and forbidden by the world from ever recombining. Perhaps more in addition. So many instances of people under the rule and oppression of other people.
Statues are erected not so as to Honor or remember history , but to glorify the person to whom that statue dedicated. As has been pointed out many times, the vast majority of statues erected to represent Civil war generals in the USA were erected in the 1900’s and 1920s and had nothing to do with representing history and everything to so with reasserting white supremacy. Robert E lee even commented on this in his lifetime indicating no statues should be erected to honor Civil war generals as all it did was keep open old wounds and ensure a nation remained ever divided.
The Germans are able to go on as a nation without memorials to Goring and Hitler and the SS soldier so why can other Countries not do this?
Last Week with John Oliver episode on monuments to the Civil War and slavery can be on lists to watch. Watch a red bearded Klansman defend his ancestral family farm because they couldn’t afford a slave. Watch John Oliver unveil a statue dedicated to Florida, a 7’ tall baseball mascot statue of a crocodile standing on hind legs and flipping the bird to Florida with its left hand. It felt good to laugh.
Empires; colonization; capitalism… are inherently organized theft under a false claim of right and benevolence.
Colonizers typically claimed God on their side, while capitalists claim science and nature…
And they both went on to pervert the truth.
In Richmond, Virginia where I grew up there are 4 huge statues glorifying the South along the famous Monument Avenue. They were erected in the early 20th century by the daughters of the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Maury (admiral of the navy in case you didn’t know who that was). Can’t remember if there is a fifth statue. Last week, a statue of Columbus in Boyd Park was toppled by activists and dumped into the lake. Sweet!
Moments of humanitys disgrace are not to be honoured.
Monuments to Humanitys insanity ,so least we forget , yes to that.
We must remember our past , as the universe is a contextual field .